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People's Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps
Zhōngguó Rénmín Jiěfàngjūn Hǎijūnlùzhànduì
File:Patch of the PLA Marine Corps.svg
Founded 1953; 69 years ago (1953)
Country  People's Republic of China
Allegiance Communist Party of China[1]
Branch  People's Liberation Army Navy
Type Naval infantry
Role Amphibious warfare
Size 20,000 personnel[2]
Motto(s) "陆地猛虎、海上蛟龙" (Tiger of the land, dragon of the sea)[3][4]
Colors          White and blue
Engagements Battle of the Paracel Islands

The People's Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps (PLANMC), also known as the People's Liberation Army Marine Corps (PLAMC), is the marine force of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and one of five major branches of the PLA Navy (PLAN). It currently consists of two 6,000-man brigades,[5] with a third brigade being organized from the transfer of the PLA Ground Force’s 77th Motorized Infantry Brigade.


PLA marines based in Zhanjiang stand at attention during a visit by a U.S. admiral in 2006.

The PLAN Marine Corps was originally established in April 1953[6] during the Chinese Civil War by Communist Chinese troops to conduct amphibious operations against islands held by the Nationalists. By the end of the Korean War, the PLAN Marine Corps numbered 110,000 people organized in eight divisions. However, the organization was disbanded in October 1957 when the leadership of China abandoned any plans to seize the island of Taiwan. Following the disbanding of the Marine Corps, the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) did maintain a naval infantry force, which consisted of several infantry and amphibious tank regiments.

In 1979 the Central Military Commission of China re-established the Marine Corps and organized it under the PLAN. On 5 May 1980, the 1st Marine Brigade was activated on Hainan.

In view of the growing tension between Mainland China and the Republic of China during the 1990s, the number of PLAN Marine Corps units was again increased. 1st Marine Brigade China was reinforced and rearmed. In July 1998, the 164th Motorized Infantry Division of the PLA Ground Force’s 41st Group Army had been transferred to the PLAN South Sea Fleet and became the 164th Marine Brigade, with its homebase in Zhanjiang, Guangdong Province. In February 2017, it was reported that the 77th Motorized Infantry Brigade of the 26th Group Army was transferred to the PLAN.


The PLAN Marine Corps is subordinate to the PLA Navy Headquarters, the Joint Staff Department and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).

12,000 marines are based in the South China Sea. It is believed in time of war, up to 28,000 marines can be mobilized. These two brigades possess combined arms units, including armor, artillery, missile, air defense, and logistics.

The two brigades are the 1st Marine Brigade and 164th Marine Brigade – both based in Zhanjiang (South Sea Fleet); 12,000 personnel.

Each Brigade comprises all or most of the following:

  • 1 x Armoured Regiment (1 x Tank Bns and 2 x Armoured Rifle with ZTD-05 Amphibious Tank Amphibious Assault Vehicle and ZBD-05 Amphibious IFV Amphibious Infantry Fight Vehicle)
  • 2 x Marines Bns
  • 1 x Howitzer Bns with PLZ-07 SP Howitzer
  • Missile Battalion (HJ-8 & HJ-73 ATGMs and HN-5 SAMs)
  • A mixed Engineer and Chemical Battalion
  • Communications and Guard Battalion
  • Field Maintenance Battalion


PLAN marines of the 1st Marine Brigade and U.S. Marines fire the Type 95 Assault Rifle during an exchange exercise in 2006.

PLAN sailors and marines with U.S. sailors during RIMPAC 2016.

Personnel Equipment
  • Z-9WA attack helicopter
  • Z-9C utility helicopter
  • Z-18 transport helicopter
Artillery and Ammunition

The modern day Chinese marine possesses the Type 95 bullpup assault rifle as standard infantry armament. The marine wears a blue/littoral camouflage uniform as standard dress. The effectiveness of this camouflage is unknown, and is thought to be ineffective once the marines penetrate deeper into urban and forested terrain. The marines also make use of GPS and night vision systems to enhance their fighting capabilities.

The PLAN marines are equipped with amphibious light tanks and armored personnel carriers. The Type 63A is the newest light tank in Chinese service. It is based on the hull of the older Type 63 (which in turn is based on the Soviet PT76 amphibious light tank). The Type 63A features a number of improvements, in particular the new welded turret which features much greater armour protection and the 105mm main gun (capable of firing standard NATO projectiles as well as the gun launched anti-tank missile). The marines are believed to have continued operating the Type 63 and the non-amphibious Type 62 light tanks as secondary units. The Type 77 amphibious APC was the standard armoured transport for the marines for many decades. However, new designs have been adapted from the army to complement these aging transports. These include specially modified versions of the Type 89 and Type 63 APCs, with enhanced swimming capabilities. The Type 86 (or WZ501) IFV is also in service with the marines. Based on the Soviet BMP-1, it is armed with a single 73mm main gun and mounts an HJ73 ATGM (with max range of 3000 meters).

For air defense, Chinese marines employ a mix of automatic and manually operated anti-aircraft artillery systems, as well as short range surface-to-air missiles. The marines have been seen operating the new Type 95 self-propelled air defense platform on an amphibious hull similar to the Type 77 APC. This platform is armed with four 25mm cannon with a short ranged SAM combination to achieve effective killing capabilities against low flying targets at short ranges. The Type 89 self-propelled 122mm gun is the first SP artillery system in service with the marines since 1999. This adds additional accurate firepower to the PLAMC.


External links

See also

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